So you think you’re ready for a new dog. And maybe you’re even considering a puppy. Here are nine important questions to ask before you get a puppy.
1. Are you ready to put in the time and energy to train your puppy—even if this means paying for professional training? If you answered no, don’t get a puppy.
2. Are you ready to have your personal possessions chewed, mangled, and stained? Puppies teethe, which means they’ll chew your favorite shoes, purses, books, etc. And they’ll have potty accidents and throw up on things. If you have no tolerance for this, don’t get a puppy.
3. Are you ready to give up sleep? Puppies miss their litter mates and can demand attention when you least want to give it…in the middle of the night. If you don’t want to get up every two or three hours each night to soothe your distraught pup, don’t get a puppy.
4. Are you ready to give up your free time? If you love to lounge around on a lazy Sunday morning (or when you get home from a long day at work) a puppy might not be the best choice for you. Puppies need tons of time and attention and exercise. If you don’t have time to provide this, don’t get a puppy.
5. Are you able to provide the right medical care? Puppies need shots, tests, spaying or neutering, and routine medical care. In the worst-case scenarios, they can require emergency care if they’ve chewed or swallowed something dangerous. If you don’t have the financial means to care for a puppy as you would a child, don’t get a puppy.
6. Are you ready to adapt if your puppy turns out to be different than you imagined? There’s no reliable way to gauge the temperament of your new puppy. What if he or she is more active than you imagined or less easily trained? Do you have the patience and flexibility to stick with it and adapt to the needs of your new puppy? If you don’t, don’t get a puppy.
7. Are you available? Are you around enough to provide for the needs your puppy will have? If you work full time or are away from the home for hours, don’t get a puppy.
8. Are you willing to establish a support system for your puppy when you have to travel? If not, don’t get a puppy.
9. Are you able to financially, physically, emotionally, and mentally provide for another living being? Having a puppy is saying “yes” to a 10‒15 year commitment. If you’re not ready for a baby, don’t get a puppy.